jam and cookies
for the past five years or so i've noticed a steadily growing urge to put a little something up in my larder. please remove mind from gutter. i am speaking of canning. spelled with two of the letter n, not one. it must be related to the ticking of the biological clock, the drying up of the eggs, the autumnal fading of this chickenhood, or maybe just watching too much little house on the prarie as a young girl.
so, as you can see, this year i did it. and am still doing it. in fact, i have become obsessed with it. i've banged out apricot jam, peach jam, apricot peach jam, apricot ginger jam, apricot chutney (do i like chutney? i don't know), dill pickles (they came out mushy due to the hotwater bath processing, yuck), pickled beets (amazingly tasty when a 1/2 of very thin slice of lemon is added to the jar), preserved lemons (an utter failure - none of the jars sealed). and it is fun. kinda. the problem is that i don't really use jam. and i don't like those mushy dills. and chutney? i seem to recall trying it once and hating it.
don't get me wrong, the jams are amazingly delicious - i picked the damn fruit right off the trees at u-pick orchards in brentwood, like the hot sweaty clumsy monkey i am i dangled from thorny tree branches (verboten, by the way) dropping my little nuggets down to the waiting hands of my moms, who promptly hurled them with the delicacy and finesse of a major league pitcher into a waiting bucket twenty feet away.
so loaded with jam i went in search of recipes. the man was clamoring for something sweet and i put two and two together and got, um, cookies. jam thumbprint cookies.
the original recipe calls for all butter but he likes it better with a butter shortning mix. they are pretty, simple to make, not too sweet, soft and kinda shortbread-y but not quite.
jam thumbprint cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened (i use 6 T. butter 6 T. shortening)
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fruit preserves, any flavor
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
cream together butter, sugar and egg yolk. add flour in until a dough forms. roll the dough out into 1 inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. using a finger poke a little well into the center of each cookie and fill with jam. bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. cool on racks. eat.